Coverage is an informal term denoting the live reporting from large scale tournaments such as Pro Tour, World Championship, Grand Prix or StarCityGames Open and Invitational tournaments. Coverage has taken many forms over the years, including written reports and articles, podcasts, and live video streams.
Official coverage of high-level Magic events has been present ever since the inception of the professional circuit. For the very first Pro Tour, PT New York 1996, a VHS video was produced, using interviews and match footage from the event. Video coverage of the top 8 matches continued for subsequent events, although in many cases, the footage has been lost. Early commentators included Mark Rosewater, Brian Weissman, Brian Hacker, and Chris Pikula; Randy Buehler first joined the coverage team upon joining R&D in 1999, although he had previously been a guest commentator at the 1998 World Championships. Coverage of professional Magic events sometimes featured on ESPN2, starting with the 1997 World Championships; the last event covered on ESPN2 was the 2000 World Championships. Written coverage of events was, for the most part, published in the Sideboard magazine; over the years, this coverage was incorporated into the online website (sideboard.com), which later got merged with Magicthegathering.com.
Randy Buehler remained a commentator and producer of Pro Tour coverage for many years. Prominent co-commentators alongside Buehler in the 2000s were Worth Wollpert, Brian Kibler, Mike Flores, and Brian David-Marshall. Coverage was expanded to include extensive text coverage at all Grand Prix events and many National Championships. Brian David-Marshall and Josh Bennett featured extensively as a text reporter at North American and Asian Grand Prix events, while in Europe, key personnel in the early-mid 2000s included Kim Eikefet, Craig Jones, and Tim Willoughby; additionally, it was common that professional players who had been eliminated from the tournament joined the coverage team as reporters.
In the late 2000s, unofficial video coverage debuted, most prominently by GGs Live and Star City Games. GGs Live, spearheaded by Rashad Miller, began producing live streaming coverage of North American Grand Prix events and Star City Games Open events in 2009; up until this point, video coverage had existed only of the top 8, but GGs Live also showed feature matches in the Swiss rounds. This would eventually be made a feature of the official coverage as well, and starting with PT Dark Ascension in 2012, live video coverage of all three days of competition at Pro Tours was broadcast on Twitch.
Text coverage is provided for almost all large tournaments and give updates of the matchups and results for each round, as well as having features on the overall trend in the tournament, as in what deck archetypes are making an impact. Text coverage also often feature game reports on certain feature matches that showcase high profile players or interesting developments in the Metagame. With the advent of video coverage, text coverage has taken on a less prominent role at most events, but is still a staple of high-level tournaments.
As an additional feature, Wizards of the Coast used to provide interviews of players and updates on the overall trend of the tournament for the first two days Pro Tour and certain Grand Prix tournaments, and released them for download as podcasts. Randy Buehler hosted the Pro Tour Podcast in 2005–06 before Rich Hagon, who had previously done unofficial coverage of European Grand Prix as a member of the Mox Radio podcasting team, took over starting in 2007. Hagon continued producing podcasts from high level events until 2011, at which point the advent of large scale video coverage led to the discontinuation of this form of Magic coverage.
Video coverage is a live video feed from a tournament, often with play-by-play commentary and color commentary from former Pro players. The Top 8 of Pro Tour and World Championship tournaments has been featured as a video feed since the late 1990s, including it being featured on the television station ESPN2 in the United States.
Due to technological advances and the rise in popularity of live streaming video transmitted via the internet, Video Coverage has greatly expanded and now showcases video coverage of all days of every Pro Tour and occasionally Grand Prix played in Europe, Japan, and North America.
Key people in coverage
Production and floor reporting
- Randy Buehler
- Ian Duke
- Simon Görtzen
- Matej Zatlkaj
- Frank Karsten
- William Jensen
- Raphaël Lévy
- Jacob Van Lunen
- Luis Scott-Vargas
- Paul Cheon
- Reid Duke
- Eduardo Sajgalik
- Martin Jůza
- Cedric Phillips
- Osyp Lebodovicz
- Showdown in New York - Pro Tour New York 1996 coverage
- Trick Jarrett (March 06, 2014). "Modern Slides". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.